Calgary (CP) – Parents do not have the right to stop their children from having abortions, even if they are under 16, says a University of Alberta professor.

And if they try to stop them, they could face criminal charges Ellen Picard told about 50 health-care workers this week at a discussion on children’s rights.

She said the federal Criminal Code makes it clear that parents are responsible for providing children “the necessities of life,” including medical treatment.

That would include an abortion, if it were deemed necessary by a hospital abortion committee, she said.

Once the child has consented to an approved therapeutic abortion, parents who interfere could be accused of “failing to provide necessary medical treatment,” Picard said.

She criticizes lawyers who have argued that parents have a right to make decisions for their children while they are still under the age of majority.

“There are many lawyers who just don’t know that much about health and medical law.”